Juneteeth Month

June 19, 2021

The Juneteenth Banner above showcases the colors used in the Pan-African flag which is one of the many flag variations currently used for Juneteenth celebrations around the country. The Pan-African Flag symbolizes black freedom and was designed to represent people of the African Diaspora. The Flag’s colors each hold a symbolic meaning. Red stands for the blood uniting many African nations, black represents Black people as one united group, and green is a symbol of growth and the natural wealth of Africa. There are many variations to the Juneteenth Flag including Spartanburg’s own local Freedom Flag that was created here in Spartanburg back in 1865 by a newly emancipated woman. More information about our local flag can be found below.

Celebrating Juneteenth

Join SCPL as we celebrate our local connection to Juneteenth and the significance of this holiday in American History. Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19th and is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day. The word Juneteenth comes from combining June 19th into one word and commemorates June 19, 1865 as the day over two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston Texas to enforce the freeing of the slaves. While there were many similar celebrations over the decades there was no cohesive celebration across the country, it has only been the last 20 years that the celebration has grown to be nationally recognized.

Historic Freedom Flag
Brad Steinecke of the Kennedy Room explains the significance of a hand-sewn American flag in the library’s collection that was once held at the head of a parade through downtown Spartanburg in September of 1865.

This two mile walk through downtown Spartanburg and the Southside neighborhood begins at the Headquarters library and passes by twelve historic sites that help tell the story of Spartanburg’s African-American community.

Spartanburg Historical Digital Collections
Black history in the Spartanburg area remains obscured by the biases and scarcity of early records. By 1790, the first year with a reliable population estimate, Spartanburg County was home to 866 black slaves and 27 "free persons not white," representing about 10% of the total population. At the time of emancipation, some 8,300 African-Americans lived in Spartanburg County, around 30% of the total population. Today Spartanburg County is about 21% black. The continued triumph of Spartanburg's black community over the marks of slavery and prejudice is a powerful story worth telling. The items featured here sample some of the library's holdings that illustrate that story.